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M855 Plot Thickens: Congressman Proposes Center-Fire Ammo Ban

Friday, March 20, 2015

M855 Plot Thickens:  Congressman Proposes Center-Fire Ammo Ban

You didn’t need a crystal ball to see this one coming. On Monday, a week after the BATFE withdrew its plan to ban M855 as “armor-piercing ammunition,” U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) announced that he intends to introduce legislation to “extend the definition of armor-piercing ammunition to include all bullets that can pierce body armor and be used in handguns.”

The reason you didn’t need a crystal ball is that gun control supporters have been pushing this idea for years. In the 1980s, after NBC-TV did an attack piece on bullets invented for law enforcement officers to shoot through walls and doors, disingenuously calling them “Cop Killer Bullets,” gun control supporters seized upon the term and proposed legislation to ban any bullet that could penetrate a soft protective vest.

Fortunately, the Departments of Justice and Treasury, along with the NRA, opposed the “performance-based” approach to defining “armor-piercing ammunition,” because it would have banned virtually all center-fire rifle ammunition and some center-fire handgun ammunition. Therefore, in 1986, Congress instead adopted a “construction-based” approach, defining bullets as “armor-piercing ammunition” based upon the metals from which they are made.

In the 1990s, President Bill Clinton and then-Rep. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) pushed for a performance-based bullet ban within terrorism legislation. A study released by the BATFE in April 1997, however, concluded “existing laws are working, no additional legislation regarding such laws is necessary.”

Now, the BATFE’s recent attempt to ban M855 has inspired gun control supporters to take another shot at a near-total center-fire bullet ban, and in the case of Rep. Israel, to do so without knowing the first thing about the subject. Israel says his bill is necessary “[b]ecause of significant developments in bullet propellants, coatings and materials, such as Teflon.”

To which we have to ask: Seriously, Teflon? The substance used to coat skillets and 1970s-era all-steel handgun bullets invented for law enforcement officers, so the bullets wouldn’t scratch the rifling of the officers’ handgun barrels? Teflon, which has nothing to do with whether a bullet can penetrate a protective vest? Teflon (speaking of Clinton), the substance said to cover dishonest, misbehaving public officials who nevertheless skirt scrutiny and accountability again and again?

As we have previously noted, in the 38 years that the FBI has reported the caliber of handguns used to kill law enforcement officers, no such crime has been committed with a handgun capable of firing M855 or any other .223 or 5.56mm cartridge.

Rep. Israel is right about one thing, however. He says that the 1986 law that the BATFE tried to twist in order to ban M855 “is outdated.” Indeed, it is, but not in the way that Israel imagines. The law should be amended to narrow BATFE’s discretion to ban ammunition. It should be understood to cover only such bullets as are designed for the express purpose of penetrating protective vests when loaded into pistol-caliber cartridges and fired from handguns. It should further exempt all bullets that are primarily intended for any legitimate purpose, including self-defense.

Rest assured we'll keep readers apprised of any new developments.  (Please see related story on federal legislation introduced to prevent the Obama Administration from banning ammunition.)

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Lawsuit Filed Against California's Assault Weapons Control Act

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Illinois: Senate Passes Legislation that will Close Gun Stores

Thursday, April 27, 2017

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Today, the Illinois Senate passed an amended version of Senate Bill 1657 by a 30-21 vote.  As amended, SB 1657 would exempt big box stores from its restrictions.

Brace Yourself: ATF Reconsiders Obama-Era Policy on Stabilizing Braces

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

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“F” Stands for Fail: School Jeopardizes Student’s Future for Possession of Squirt Gun

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Friday, April 21, 2017

“F” Stands for Fail: School Jeopardizes Student’s Future for Possession of Squirt Gun

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

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Yesterday, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton proposed Senate Amendment 1 to his shell bill, Senate Bill 233.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

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West Virginia: Governor Signs Pro-Gun Bills into Law

Thursday, April 27, 2017

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Rhode Island:  House Committee Will Hear Over a Dozen Gun Bills Tuesday Night

Monday, April 24, 2017

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Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

California: Open Carry Ban Passes in the Assembly

Friday, April 21, 2017

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.